There is sometimes a common belief that just because one side in an argument or an analogy is wrong then that automatically makes the other side right. In the case of this book that clearly does not hold to be true. It is true that what we know of as the modern “church” is not, and has not been what God intended it to be for almost 1600 years now and is for the most part a flawed creation of man. The author offers an alternative that on the surface looks to be a better alternative and fits more with how the original New Testament church functioned, and how churches should function, however after that premise as presented in the book the author diverges into a mish mash of flawed personal opinions and unfounded theories. The author also takes it upon himself to personally reinterpret scripture in order to validate his own flawed opinions. He also infers that what we know of as the canon of scripture may not be valid, and suggests that what was chosen as the canon of scripture may have been due to political expediency rather than via the inspiration of God. And the author overtly adds to his suggestion that the canon of scripture may not be valid by using a quote from the Gnostic false gospel of Thomas! He further quotes from a badly paraphrased bible called the “Original People’s Bible” And then goes further to suggest that Native Americans may have actually worshiped and possibly been in right relationship with the one true God of the Bible, prior to Europeans arriving in the new world.
The author in reinterpreting scripture makes a stunning claim: That God may want a relationship with man because God is lonely! He does this by taking the following verse from Genesis 2 out of context and then re-imagining it to fit his flawed premise that God is lonely: Genesis 2:18: “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Some newer Bible translations change the word “alone” in the above verse to “lonely”. The author uses one of these newer translations and then flips the verse on its head to say that it actually could mean that God is lonely and desires or needs a relationship with man to take away that loneliness.
Near the end of the book the author offers his opinion on the six literal days of creation, why he offers this is unknown as it does not add to or bolster his premise on why the modern church does not reflect how God intended the church to be! The Author believes in the “Gap Theory” which postulates that there may have been a literal six day creation but that this was actually a “recreation” or restoration because there could have been a “millions of years” GAP between the first and second verses of Genesis 1. and prior to the six day “recreation” or “restoration” the earth in eons past had been a paradise but then devastated making it “without form, and void” possibly from when Satan was cast of Heaven.
In the book the author also criticizes what he calls the new “liberal” Christianity which pushes “Social Justice” and Socialism and he calls out famous pastors such as Rick Warren for pushing this false gospel. The ironic part that is completely lost on the author is this: You cannot call out others for pushing a false gospel via their own flawed reinterpretation of scripture when you choose to do that yourself. It is obvious in reading the book that the author has a conservative political ideology as opposed to most of the “emerging church” liberal Christian pastors such as Rick Warren. However again, you cannot call out others for their mishandling of scripture when you choose to do the same thing but for a political ideology that is opposite to those that you disagree with.
It is well known that the books and letters that became the canon of scripture were pretty much agreed upon long before any corrupted man made church structure came along. The author misses that, yes the known church at the time of the Council of Nicea was heading in a direction of apostasy, however God was still able to use the known apostatizing church at that time to protect the canon of Scripture. I found it ironic that the author believed and accepted that God used the Israelite’s/Jews to preserve knowledge of the one true God and were the ancestral line from which Jesus would come, even though for most of their history they lived in apostasy, but he virtually refuses to believe that God could work through an apostate church up to a certain point, just as God did through Israel.
The author also infers a strong “Dominionist” theology. Inferring that if only the church changed to what God intended it to be that it could convert the world and change the world for God as the “Bride of Christ” Unfortunately this flies in the face of the plain reading of God’s word! Christians will not convert the entire world before Christ returns, there will only be increasing apostasy. Yes there may be a remnant that remain faithful to God and they will be groups of Christians who meet informally and not part of any formal man made denomination, and the denominations that do exist will be apostate and persecute these groups, along with the Anti-Christ system, but there will be no worldwide revival to turn the world to God and then further to return it to a “Heavenly” paradise.
The author also asserts that the vast majority of Christianity today is not in right relationship with God because it does not use the “correct” name for God. He postulates that the word God is a common noun, and that false god’s could be known as God! This to be quite honest is a very shallow understanding of English grammar. By making the word God begin with a capitalized G you are in effect changing a common noun into a proper noun, or a proper name with context! For example: using god as a common noun in a sentence would look like this: “A man can claim to be a god”. However it becomes a proper noun and a unique proper name with context when you use it in the following manner: “A man named Jesus was God!” The capitalization of the word god puts a specific context around it, and it becomes a proper noun, a proper name, and the context for it is determined by the text where the proper noun God is used, in this case the Bible, the Written Word of God! Now I agree that a majority of Christians today may not be in right relationship with God, but not because they use the wrong name for God, it is because they have stepped away from a belief that the Written Word of God, The Bible as we have received it is clear (it has perspicuity), is God breathed, and can be relied upon to be the only written text to instruct mankind on how to be in right relationship with God!
2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
Lastly, I would say this in conclusion, although I agree with the author on the condition of what we currently know as the “church”, and Christians do need to return to the form of the “New Testament” church, it would be useless for Christians to do so if they did not have the right Biblical doctrine to follow, and instead allowed themselves to be cast about via false good sounding fables and a false gospel. During the great persecutions of Christians during the Roman Empire before the practice of Christianity was made legal under Constantine, albeit for political expediency there were Christian groups that were persecuted and who died but who practiced a false gospel! Just because someone offers an alternative to what we know is flawed does not mean that what they offer is a valid Biblical alternative. I would say: Beware of this book, it does not offer a valid Biblical alternative!